“The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.”
Finishing a series you loved is always bittersweet, but it’s made easier when there’s another series by the same author you can throw yourself into afterwards. This time I didn’t have that luxury since I read Bardugo’s duology first, so I was torn. I really wanted to finish this, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave her world. I really hope we see more in the future so I can return once more <3
But let’s move onto the review, shall we? I had heard from several people that Ruin and Rising is the strongest book in this trilogy, so my expectations were high! Naturally Bardugo delivered on all fronts.
When this trilogy starts, Alina is a shy girl who is thrown into a life she couldn’t want less. Somewhere along her journey she’s turned into one kick-ass lady, and I loved seeing her as that confident warrior who fights for her beliefs!
They knew how to be thieves and phantoms, how to hide strength as well as mischief. Like the teachers at the Duke’s estate, the priest thought he knew the girl and what she was capable of.
He was wrong.
He did not hear their hidden language, did not understand the boy’s resolve. He did not see the moment the girl ceased to bear her weakness as a burden and began to wear it as a guise.
After the first two books I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Darkling. We already know he’s cruel and stops at nothing to get what he wants, but you also get the feeling that there’s more. Ruin and Rising explains everything, and by the end I did nothing so much as feel pain for the boy he used to be, and still is deep down. Despite everything he’s done I couldn’t get myself to hate him. He’s an excellent character brilliantly developed, and I loved learning more about his past through Baghra. My favourite moment in the entire trilogy is a conversation Baghra has with Alina. She tells Alina everything she’s kept close to her heart until then, and it’s one of the more beautifully written scenes I’ve ever read. It was a very open, honest chat, everything laid bare, and it’s stuck with me. I know I should hate him but I just hurt instead.
One of my other favourites was the ending. (you might consider this a slight implied spoiler so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to risk it) Even though it’s really a happy ending, it wasn’t all happy perfection. Endings which are all feel-good are quite common, so I enjoyed one which left me with conflicted feelings. Sometimes an all happy ending isn’t possible, and I admire the writer who sticks to her (and her character’s) guns. I’m not sure exactly what I hoped for, but I like the way Bardugo left it.
You probably don’t need me to recommend this since you’ll likely have read the first two books to get here, but on the off-chance – If you want a beautifully crafted high fantasy trilogy with magical Russian folklore weaved into it, you want these books.
Have you read Ruin and Rising, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!
I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.
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